Canal boat holidays are all about having time to relax and enjoy life. If you go for a bike ride when you reach a stopping-off point, your holiday will carry on at the same gentle pace as life aboard a canal barge.
Towpaths, forest tracks, footpaths and small country roads are often found close to canals and rivers. Whether you choose choose canal cruises in France, the Netherlands, Germany or Ireland, there is nothing nicer, once you set foot on dry land, than having a bicycle for getting about. In fact, it’s a must. It means you can easily reach the surrounding villages and towns, visit châteaux and listed sites, do a bit of shopping or simply explore the area close to your waterway.
The Locaboat bases that offer self-drive boat hire have many bikes available, but there’s a very high demand, especially at major holiday weekends in summer, particularly for children’s bikes. So you can opt to bring your own bikes or book them in advance from your Locaboat starting base, where they will do their best to make them available. Even so, it’s best to book early and reserve your bikes at the same time as you book your barge cruise.
That way, you won’t be disappointed or have to look for a solution at the last minute. Another tip: don’t forget to put a lock on your bike (supplied with a Locaboat bike) when you leave it unattended on board. Helmets for children are supplied free (don’t forget to book them in advance). Adults must bring their own kit. Finally, cycle baskets – really useful for shopping and bringing home the croissants in the morning – are provided free by Locaboat. One last point, especially for cycling fans: in Holland and Germany, some of the bikes are folding, which saves space when you’re transporting them on your Locaboat canal barge.
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